A step closer to my PhD

So, I had my final interview for a Ph.D. position at the University of Bonn two days back. I received the offer yesterday. The overall process was as follows:

I got to know about the position through the robotics-worldwide google group. I followed it up by sending an email to the professor along with the required documents which were already mentioned in the position announcement. I got a response after about 11 days with an invitation to an online meeting which I obviously accepted.

The interview started with a brief intro of both sides. We discussed many things ranging from my long term research goals, the origination of my MS Thesis idea, the reason behind my application, I also asked for a review of my Thesis work, and very courteously, the professor provided some useful pointers regarding potential improvements, we also discussed the professor’s priority regarding conferences for publication, the average number of publications he expects out of a student, working style and many more things. It was a great experience. Two days after my interview, I got 2 emails, one was a coding problem while the other was a paper to be reviewed.

I had about 6 days to complete both tasks but luckily the tasks were very easy. The first task was the completion of a k-means algorithm while the second task was to review the base paper on U-Net which I had used during my BS Thesis. Luckily, I was able to perform both tasks in 2 days. After about 11 days of me submitting the solutions, I got an email for another interview.

It was Tuesday and the final interview started with my code review and I got to know some faults in it like it was not generic, it had extra for loops but luckily, the professor asked potential steps to improve it and I managed to provide some alternatives. I asked him if my early submission with these mistakes was a problem as I had submitted my solutions 3 days before the deadline and I could have improved it if I had given it another thought and he politely said that it’s advised to submit your best solution for an interview but as long as I know my code and what it does, it was good enough.

Then we moved towards the paper review. I had read some recent papers referencing U-Net base paper and found a paper comparing different versions of the U-Net and added some points as the negatives of the base paper by giving references to the papers. I asked the professor that it was an easy task as it was an old paper but what he expects of me if he gives me a 2022 paper and he said that I should be able to understand it and find something that could be improved as he pointed out that for the U-Net paper, they didn’t perform any study on the architecture, it could be because of less space but nevertheless was a point. Then we discussed a little bit about the correct way of thinking ranging from the dependence on previous literature while reviewing a paper and the rabbit hole of whether there exists a solution to every problem or if a problem is completely solved ever.

I also asked him about his experience with me throughout the interview process and he said that it was interesting. He also asked me about whether I would like to teach in the future, to which I said that I don’t like teaching and would like to be called a Distinguished Researcher someday, my own lab, maybe but I want to work as a Researcher only as long as possible without any teaching responsibilities.

After the interview, I didn’t think that I would get the position but luckily I have got it. I have sent an acceptance email. Let’s see what happens.




MS Thesis Student, CVGL, LUMS http://pk.linkedin.com/in/talhahanifbutt

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Talha Hanif Butt

Talha Hanif Butt

MS Thesis Student, CVGL, LUMS http://pk.linkedin.com/in/talhahanifbutt

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